Biography of the Modernist Poet-Claude Mckay: Claude Mckay was originally born with the name Festus Claudius Mckay came from Harlem and was a big component in the literary movement known as the "Harlem Renaissance." Many of his poems expressed problems that blacks faced in the racist society of the time period. Mckay's Life began in Jamaica in 1889 to some very poor farmers, but he felt great pride in who he was racially and as a person. Mckay was heavly influenced by English poetry in his early years and studied with his brother, a school teacher, and learned the works of many famous British poets. Although he had a great passion for literature Mckay left his hometown when he was 17 to be a woodworkers apprentice. After a short amount of time there he traveled to the Jamaica's capitol and worked as a constaple, there Mckay experienced his first taste of racism which would influence his poetry later in life. In his time after Mckay had an extensive career in poetry and would be successful. But in the years before his death his reputation began to decline and continued to even after his death in 1948.
Affect of Mckay's life in his poetry: Like many great poets Claude Mckay did not have a perfect life, and the hardships he faced throughout his time on earth would work to sculpt how and what he wrote his poetry about. The main issue that he addressed was the racism that he experienced and felt. Mckay was disgusted with the way that African Americans were treated especially in the large cities, he first felt this in Kingston Jamaica but also felt it absolutely everywhere he traveled to. In 1914 Mckay dropped out of school and stopped writing his poetry, but in New York City he experienced a substantial amount of racism that spurred him to start writing again
Modernist Time period: The modernist poetry movement started in the very early years of the 20th century. This was also the beginning of the great war and the roaring 20's after it. Modernist poetry focused on despair, even though this was a time period where people were happy without a care in the world.
Time period's effect on Mckay's work: The early 20th century was an extremely rough time to be an african american, Racism was upheld by both law and custom. Segregation was extremely prevelent in this society so it of course took it's toll on Mckay. His work reflected what he experienced and how he felt about the racism of people in that day. The time period sculpted exactly what Mckay would write about, the times that he lived in where his influence for his work